Touring exhibition: Transformations: Art of the Scott Sisters
Harriet and Helena Scott were two of 19th-century Australia’s most prominent natural history illustrators
About the exhibition
Beautiful and intricate, this stunning exhibition features up to 50 professionally mounted and framed watercolours, as well as rarely-seen notebooks, handwritten manuscripts, sketches and letters, which together form a fascinating record of the lives of Harriet (Hattie) and Helena (Nellie) Scott.
Turn back the pages as you uncover the captivating story of these two extraordinary women whose love of nature and tremendous skill in rendering its beauty enabled them to distinguish themselves amid the male-dominated world of 19th century science. Many of their scientific illustrations are still used by scientists today.
The Scott sisters were among the first to illustrate the life histories and immature stages of Australian moths and butterflies. They were meticulous and understood the biology of their subjects in great detail.
The highlights of the exhibition are watercoloured paintings created between 1846 and 1851 for their father A.W Scott’s landmark publication Australian Lepidoptera and their Transformations.
Considered the finest examples of the sisters’ work, the paintings feature caterpillars in life-like poses, gorgeous butterflies, native flowers and stunning landscapes.
This is a rare chance for visitors to step back in time and absorb these watercolours while admiring the simple beauty of 19th century nature through the eyes of two young women whose pioneering work was praised for both the art and the science.
Read more about Harriet, Helena, their archives and family here.
History of the exhibition
After originally being on display at the Australian Museum from 3 September to 27 November 2011, Beauty from nature: the Art of the Scott Sisters toured to multiple locations around NSW. In 2017, the exhibition was updated following the display of Transformations: Art of the Scott Sisters at the Museum. This newest iteration of the exhibition now includes refreshed information, multimedia animations and interviews, as well as the interractive 'Art of Science' mobile app.
Transformation: Art of the Scott Sisters at the Australian Museum (2017)
Exhibition Specifications: Wall space of 35m for up to 50 single hung frames.
Duration: The exhibition is available for a maximum period of 10 weeks due to conservation requirements. Up to 50 framed original watercoulours are available. A selection of objects are available upon request and dependant on environmental conditions of hosting venues.
Special Requirements: 24 hour security; climate & lighting control; an Australian Museum staff member is required to attend install.
Accompanying Material Available: Graphics package, video footage and high res images of Ash Island.
The Art of Science App: Explore the art of Harriet and Helena Scott through this specially-designed, interractive app. Your visitors can read biographies, learn about butterfly and moth species, and explore over 100 interactive illustrations. The app is free for all users. See more about the app here.
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Project Coordinator – Touring Exhibitions
- 13 July to 16 September 2012 - Tweed River Art Gallery, Murwillumbah, New South Wales
- 27 April to 30 June 2013 - Dubbo Regional Gallery,New South Wales
- 13 December 2013 to 23 February 2014 - Maitland Regional Art Gallery, New South Wales
- 14 November 2016 to 2 April 2017 - Australian Fossil & Mineral Museum, Bathurst - reproductions of artworks
- 24 February 2018 to 29 April 2018 - Newcastle Museum, New South Wales - reproductions of artworks
Louise Teteris , Project Coordinator – Touring Exhibitions